The Best Architecture of the Century…
The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIALA) Announces the Winners of the Best of the Millennium Awards, along with the  Recipients of the 2020 AIALA Design Awards and Next LA Awards


(Los Angeles, CA – October 30, 2020) Two decades into the new century, what is the architecture that sets the course for our time, and/or demonstrates design excellence for our era?

The answer can be found in the winners of the “Best of the Millennium Awards” announced by the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIALA) during the organization’s 2020 AIALA Design Awards on Thursday evening October 29.

Celebrating the best architecture realized during the first twenty years of this new millennium, the winners of the “Best of the Millennium Awards” were selected from entries that earned AIALA design awards from 2000 to 2019.

This recognition of the role of important and forward-leaning design was also reflected in changes to criteria in existing AIALA Design Awards categories for 2020: the namesake 2020 AIALA Design Awards which honor completed projects, and the Next LA awards which consider designed but as-yet unbuilt work.

To encourage advances in sustainability, an essential consideration in the coming years of the millennium, the AIALA incorporated the “Common App” for design juries to use as a component in assessing submissions for both of these categories. The app is a nationally used tool and data base that evaluates sustainability performance and tracks progress the architectural profession is making in carbon neutrality, water conservation, healthy materials, and resiliency and similar areas.

“The addition of the Common App as an evaluation tool for the Design Award and Next LA awards categories reflects the commitment of our profession to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment,” stated 2020 AIALA President Greg Verabian, AIA. “This is a core value of the profession and something we think about every day and in every project at my firm. Our profession holds a leadership role, we are stewards of our universal future. We know that we can change the course of climate change.”

This change added another level achievement in the already prestigious and highly competitive AIALA Design Awards and AIALA Next LA Awards categories.

For a full listing of winning projects and architects, along with jury notes on each project, scroll down.

To view images of the AIALA Design Awards winners, the best of the year; the 2020 Next LA Awards, the best of the future; and the Best of the Millennium, click the following links:

+ Millennium Awards Recipients 
+ 2020 AIALA Design Awards Recipients
+ 2020 Next LA Award Recipients

In addition to the juried awards, Presidential Honorees, selected by Verabian and the 2020 AIALA Board of Directors and announced previously by the AIALA, were also celebrated. Presidential Honoree recipients were announced on July 23, 2020. Discover the 2020 AIALA Presidential Honorees here.

For high quality images of winners and for more information about the event, please call 213-639-0763 or email

(listed by award level, Honor being highest)

Honor Award
Inner-City Arts (Los Angeles, Ca)
Michael Maltzan Architecture
This project is a beacon for its neighborhood, a welcoming place to learn. It’s modest without being intrusive, it’s respectful of the community, and it creates and provides incredible exterior learning spaces as well as a tremendous variety of interior learning areas. It is a wonderful adaptation and reuse of an existing warehouse into a stunning and light-filled space for learning and experiencing art. Investment in young people is one of the most significant contributions any society can make and the building really speaks to that.

Honor Award
Grand Park (Los Angeles, CA)
Great cities need great spaces, and Grand Park is truly one of the city’s great spaces. It’s like a living room for the city. You can see all sorts of activities happening there: It’s a gathering place, it’s a place for demonstrations, it’s a place of welcoming, it’s for everybody–which further underscores how wonderful a space it is as designed. The impact of this park on the City of Los Angeles can’t be overstated. It’s Incredibly welcoming – a truly democratic space which gives our city a heart.

Merit Award
Pico Branch Library (Santa Monica, CA)
Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
This is such a generous gift to the community. It’s so much more than a library. It ties together a diverse group of people who all use it on a regular basis. The interior spatial sequence borders on awe-inspiring. The architects did a truly masterful job of creating a space that’s intimate yet grand at the same time, and the interior layout gives space for a wide, versatile set of uses. We also want to mention the ecological thinking that went into this building: the solar panels, but also the way that rainwater is recycled and so forth. It’s wonderful how the exuberant roof profile telegraphs into the building to create really wonderful interior spaces.

Merit Award
Solar Umbrella (Venice, CA)
Brooks + Scarpa
This project exemplifies the best of California living; the indoor/outdoor continuity of space. But it’s also pointing the way to a future for residential innovation–off-grid, generating its own energy. This openness to the neighborhood is an incredibly generous gesture. We really appreciate its efforts to recognize that there’s an opportunity in single-family residential architecture to actually be environmentally sensitive. This house is an extraordinary exercise in the play with planes and the assembly, that are made permeable yet provide shelter. It’s a really formidable conjunction of formal precision with forward thinking technology.

Merit Award
The SIX (Los Angeles, CA)
Brooks + Scarpa
There’s no question; this is an iconic building. But what makes it so profound is its program. You can imagine the transformative impact that it would have on a community of disabled veterans. It’s a lot of architecture with minimal means, in an interesting way–that’s what makes it so masterful. This building goes so far beyond anything one would expect in this kind of program or typology. The way that this building, in a masterful way, provides a sense of community for its inhabitants but at the same time guarantees privacy and also arrives at giving a bold outward gesture, a real statement towards the city. It’s exceptional and highly laudable.

Citation Award
Caltrans District 7 Headquarters (Los Angeles, Ca)
Morphosis Architects
The design of the building really places a lot of emphasis on making it a great space for the employees to work. We appreciate the commitment of a public agency towards design excellence and to really attempt to use architecture to anchor a neighborhood. The public art project was really part of the innovation of this project as well. The photovoltaic panels were certainly very progressive and an unusual feature to a building like this. There’s no question that this is an iconic building for the City of Los Angeles.

Citation Award
Silvertop (Los Angeles, CA)
Bestor Architecture
The challenges of working on an iconic piece of architecture can’t be understated. So the renovation, and the care and attention that the architect placed in bringing this building back to life, are incredible because it’s an iconic project that is recognized not only in LA, but around the world. Unquestionably, an extraordinary historical significance for the City of Los Angeles. And the idea that these buildings deserve to be repurposed and brought back to life in perpetuity—it’s exactly what we should be doing in the city.

Vault House (Oxnard, Ca)
Johnston Marklee
This project takes the California beach bungalow and breathes new life into it, while at the same time referencing historical forms. This house exemplifies a sort of joy and simplicity. The architects were capable of taking a very simple volume and by carving through it, created a series of unanticipated and dynamic spaces that provided a tremendous amount of richness. We appreciate the experimental approach: the radical reduction of architecture almost back to one single element, and then through a series of formal operations and replications, to come up with a highly complex spatial configuration, yet compellingly monolithic. It’s exuberant and modest at the same time. And that’s to be applauded.

The jury for the Millennium Awards was composed of:
+ Martino Stierli – Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art (NY, New York)
+ Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, FAIA – Dean, School of Architecture, Woodbury University (Los Angeles, CA)
+ Valery Augustin, AIA, Director of Global Studies, USC School of Architecture

(listed by typology, then award level – Honor being highest)


Typology: Adaptive Reuse/Renovation/Historical Preservation

Honor Award
MuseumLab (Pittsburgh, PA)
Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
An impressive intervention on an existing historic building. Intervened with power, but respect creating an environment that a large collective can hold as a representative space. A fantastic project on all levels! A wonderful agenda, and designed in a way that fully embraces the time that has passed while weaving in modern architectural and technological components.

Merit Award
Flower Creative Office (Glendale, Ca)
With all the square meters built in our earth, architects must do more and more projects like this, a project that renovates a building that none would think could be useful and beautiful with a simple and clever intervention. A super thoughtful project that transforms this relatively low-cost building type. This building rewards you the more you look at it, and we imagine the pedestrian or vehicular experience is the same. This project embraces its context while also elevating it to another level.

Citation Award
Autry Resource Center (Burbank, Ca)
Chu+Gooding Architects
Reusing an existing uninhabitable building in a very understated, but still very powerful intervention is what we need to do more in architecture these days. A very thoughtful adaptation of a building that some might have considered a ‘throwaway,’ instead repurposed into an innovative museum space.

Citation Award
Miles C. Bates House (Palm Desert, Ca)
Stayner Architects
This project has a lot of value to bring up to date with a delicate and informed intervention, one of the gems of the 20th century. The architect’s sensitive, thoughtful approach to both respecting the home’s original vision and adapting it for modern technology and lifestyles. Throughout this project, you get a clear sense of the dialogue between past architect and contemporary architect.

Typology: Commercial/Mixed-Use

Merit Award
The Webster (Los Angeles, Ca)
Adjaye Associates
This concrete space that opens clearly and nicely to the street is doing a lot of things for shopping areas in LA. A fantastic jewel on an important corner! The experience of the outside seems to transition to the interior seamlessly. On all levels, a wonderful small project in a large urban landscape that cannot be ignored.

Merit Award
Westgate1515 (Los Angeles, CA)
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA]
The integration of the multi-uses of this building is beautifully orchestrated, the idea of huge shops that normally become boxes that do nothing to the urban environment, here they create a very interesting mixture of physical social spaces that are really supporting the urban fabric in a great way. Los Angeles has a terrific mixed-use design culture, and this project is a very good example of that culture. It’s inventive, clear and clean in plan, elevation and section. I appreciated that the submission illustrated the fit and finish of the interior build-out as well, telling the full story of the project from street to courtyard to residential units.

Citation Award
The Culver Steps (Culver City, Ca)
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
An impressive intervention on an existing historic building, intervened with power, but respect creating an environment that a large collective can hold as a representative space. A fantastic project on all levels! A wonderful agenda, and designed in a way that fully embraces the time that has passed while weaving in modern architectural and technological components.

Typology: Cityscapes

Citation Award
North Shore Pavilion
North Shore, Coachella Valley, Ca
This is done with the community and projects should be doing this. This is relevant to a community.


Typology: Educational

Honor Award
UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios (Culver City, Ca)
Johnston Marklee
A wonderful project on all levels, terrific within its urban context as well as sectionally. Super rewarding to work through the plan and understand what’s happening above – the light control, volume control – as well as the program flow.

Citation Award
Delano Charter School (Wonderful)(Delano, CA)
NAC Architecture
This project is really enhancing the life of these kids. This is a well-orchestrated project that integrates spaces for the collective at the same time as it’s doing in the educational areas. A fantastic agenda followed in a very thoughtful and cost-effective way. This project creates a place for students to study and to gather, while also embracing the climate and the landscape through the shading devices and transition zones.


Typology: Interior Architecture

Citation Award
Liberation Coffee House (Los Angeles, CA)
An exciting small project with inventive use of color and a simple flow through spaces. It meets the challenges of retail design in an elegant, unexpected way.

Citation Award
Salon Xia (Pasadena, CA)
Clay Holden Architects
The interior design of this Salon is done using resources that are not the usual suspects. This creative and novel way of defining a space is very refreshing.

Typology: Institutional/Civic

Menil Drawing Institute (Houston, Texas)
Johnston Marklee
This project is immediately recognizable as inventive and thoughtful, from the careful integration of landscape and the building’s place within a larger campus to the nano-details of fit and finish. This is architecture at its top level!

Robertson Recreation Center (Los Angeles, Ca)
Kevin Daly Architects
This project thoughtfully approaches its urban context so that it reads as a very special building, which I think all civic buildings should do. The design has a certain poetry that both centers it perfectly within its context and elevates it to another level.

Citation Award
Billie Jean King Main Library (Long Beach, Ca)
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
On so many levels, this project organized the program in a super thoughtful, rational way. The wood used throughout the building not only helps to give the project a sense of place in its urban context, but provides a sense of warmth and supports sustainable design outcomes.

Citation Award
LA Interim Shelter Program (Los Angeles, CA, San Pedro, CA, and Wilmington, CA)
Perkins and Will
Clearly this is an agenda that’s top of mind in many built environment discussions, and the project deals with an important social program. The rational design really stands out as being welcoming and thoughtful. While it’s intended as a transitional place, care was obviously taken to ensure the users feel protected – and respected.


Typology: Installations

Citation Award
Arroyo Bridge (Los Angeles, CA)
Martin-Project + Gigante AG
Really thrilling to see a student-led project, where the young designers are learning about geometries and structure and fabrication. This project represents the best of design education and a really meaningful student experience. A heck of an accomplishment!


Typology: Multi-Unit Residential

Merit Awards
Elysian Fields (Los Angeles, Ca)
Warren Techentin Architecture [WTARCH]
A great project! The jury really appreciated the sectional drawing that described the way the units worked. This is a place we all thought we’d want to live. From the different configurations of units in the building to the way it turns the corner from the street into the courtyard – super interesting and memorable.

Citation Award
MLK1101 Supportive Housing (Los Angeles, CA)
Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects [LOHA]
A great example of LA’s residential design culture. The way the building holds the corner while opening to a courtyard is impressive, and balances a feeling of protective with being immersed in a city context. Really enjoy the way sunlight is reflected into the communal space, as well.

Typology:  Single-Family Residential

Merit Award
Skyhouse (Los Angeles, Ca)
XTEN Architecture
A great example of architecture working on all levels, as we expect from a city like LA with such a fine history of residential design. This house continues that tradition in a very elegant, carefully considered and thoughtfully detailed expression.

Merit Award
Walk-Street House (Hermosa Beach, Ca)
ras-a studio
This design is so appropriate to the landscape and the beach lifestyle. I can imagine this home weathering over time and feeling even more comfortable in its context, like it was always meant to be there.


The Jury for the 2020 AIALA Design Awards was composed of:
+ Tom Kundig, FAIA – Olson Kundig (Seattle, Washington)
+ Thomas Robinson, AIA – LEVER (Portland, Oregon)
+ Tatiana Bilbao – Tatiana Bilbao Estudio (Mexico City, Mexico)

(listed by typology, then award level – Honor being highest)

Typology: Adaptive Reuse/Renovation/Historical Preservation

Citation Award
The Press (Costa Mesa, Ca)
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
This project’s interior composition of spaces, colors, and the Eamesian super-graphics are appreciated. The smart indoor/outdoor space-making strategy combined with the straightforward use of materials that appropriately recognize the industrial past of the adapted structures.

Typology: Commercial/Mixed-Use

Merit Award
Gramercy Senior Housing (Los Angeles, Ca)
Kevin Daly Architects
The clear diagram of the central longitudinal circulation and event spine providing dynamic courtyard spaces in sync with sensitively scaled housing blocks on the street edge was greatly appreciated. The strategy gives just enough to the urban context and connections without compromising the privacy and security of the internal elevated urban street.

Merit Award
OBM Headquarters (Columbus, Ohio)
Tom Wiscombe Architecture
This project exudes great vim, vigor, and intoxicating character. The project adopts a convincing strategy for spacemaking and a commitment to performalism. Everyone who works there will be completely and pleasantly surprised their building is so rationalized beneath the surface.

Merit Award
Pacific Landing (Santa Monica, Ca)
Tighe Architecture
This project is appreciated for its sophisticated and subtly dynamic formal resolution. It is very well-executed and expertly tailored, its wrapper displaying finesse and precise fit.

Citation Award
West Olympic Science Hub (Los Angeles, Ca)
Belzberg Architects
A much-admired dramatic sculptural intervention into its generic urban context. The formally adventurous expressionism of the corner as a collector and distributor of people up into a cavernous urban exterior seemed three-dimensionally expertly-executed as were the voids around the central plaza area.


Typology: Cityscape

Merit Award
Licang Civic Square (Qingdao, Shandong Province, China)
Perkins and Will
This proposal is a clever distillation of a public park into a subterranean, terrarium-like ecosystem. The spatial and volumetric complexity of the spaces between the deceptively simple bermed topography.


Typology: Education

Citation Award
Mozambique Preschool (Xai-Xai, Mozambique)
Bouyioukou Vobiri Architects
A simple, humble and humanistic project. But also an important project, as a case study for how good architecture can become great simply by demonstrating that it is nothing more nor less than it needs to be. This is a competent proposal that is unabashedly humanist and critically regionalist in terms of its Kahnian approach to exported modernism.

Typology: Institutional/Civic

Merit Award
Houston Endowment Headquarters (Houston, TX)
Kevin Daly Architects
There is an elegant restraint and clear relationship to the park scape, and the simple, exoskeletal skin gives it polished slenderness. Also beautifully-simple is the rewarding move of placing a parallelogram-plan shading superstructure over the orthogonal terraced building. The resulting parallax amplifies the pavilion’s spatial and perspectival depth in the round. What at first seems flat is anything but that.

Citation Award
Stillness, Joshua Tree (Joshua Tree, Ca)
Tighe Architecture
There was enthusiasm about its biomorphism and contextually sympathetic grounding, and the jury looks forward to further development of performance-based form-making in terms of daylight and extreme temperature. Also noted was how the juxtaposition of intimately scaled, Turrell-inspired top-lit galleries placed beneath a Fosteresque Spaceport America blanket brought the miniature and monumental together in a relaxed way.

Typology: Single-Family Residential

Honor Award
The Dark Chalet (Eden, Utah)
Tom Wiscombe Architecture
This project is unanimously recognized for its aggressive rigor, control over gravity, and materiality, adding grace to complexity. We should all sleep better at night knowing that beneath the nerve-wracking gymnastics, there is an underlying performance rationale. Undeniably, it is a dastardly, indivisible fusion of tectonics and stereotomy. Grotesque yet inexplicably attractive, it is a strange, mesmerizing new realm where familiar associations weirdly unfold and unravel.

The jury for this year’s NEXT LA Awards was composed of:
+ Michael Fox, AIA – FoxLin (San Clemente, CA)
+ David Hertz, FAIA – Studio EA (Los Angeles, CA)
+ Kunlé Adeyemi – NLÉ (Amsterdam, Holland and Lagos, Nigeria)
+ Mohamed Sharif, SL:A, Assistant Adjunct Professor at UCLA (Los Angeles, Ca)

About the Design Awards
The AIALA Design Awards program consider and award entries in the AIA|LA Design Awards and NEXT LA Awards categories, and for 2020 the Millennium Awards. The first, the namesake AIALA Design Awards, recognizes the design excellence of some of the most significant completed projects in the country at this time. Unbuilt or are still-to-be-completed-commissions are considered and awarded through the AIALA Next LA awards program. To qualify for consideration in the Millennium Awards category, a project had to be a previous recipient of an AIALA design award between the years spanning 2000 – 2019.

Completed projects, located anywhere, that are designed by AIA members from firms based in the Los Angeles area, and architecture constructed in Los Angeles by any AIA member, no matter their base of operations, are eligible for submission for Design Awards entry.

Three levels of achievement are awarded in each category. Honor, Merit, Citation; Honor being the top ranking. The typology of each building is noted for reference purposes in the Design Awards and Next LA Categories; for instance, Institutional or Single-Family Residential.


Tibby Rothman, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Marketing and Public Relations
p: 213-639-0763

The 2020 AIA|LA Design Awards are sponsored by:
Presenting Sponsor: Sharpe Interior Systems, Inc.
Gold Sponsors: Lehrer Architects LA; Hathaway Dinwiddie
Wine Sponsor: Budlong & Associates, Inc.
Exhibition Sponsor: Clark Construction
Mask Sponsor: Morley Construction Company
Merry Norris Tribute Video, Thanks To: The Ratkovich Family Foundation
Survival Kit Sponsor: Santa Monica City Hall East Building Team**
Bronze Sponsors: Psomas; Walter P Moore; SALT Landscape Architects; John A. Martin & Associates, Inc.; Gensler; Nous Engineering; MATT Construction; Hubbell Lighting/PLP SoCal; SOM; Degenkolb Engineers
Graphics and Animations: Shimahara Visual
Printed Material By: ARC Document Solutions
*Santa Monica City Hall East/Building Team of the Year: City of Santa Monica, Frederick Fisher and Partners; Hathaway Dinwiddie; Buro Happold; John A. Martin & Associates; kpff; CWE; AHBE | MIG